Zoom Up: The Beaver Book Girl (2012) – By Duane L. Martin

A woman is sexually assaulted on a crappy old bed in some sort of an industrial area. Money is thrown at her and the perpetrator leaves. Years later, the woman finds the man who assaulted her working as a photographer for skin magazines, taking mostly fetish pictures, like watersports, bondage and such. He lives with his young assistant and a girl who is his primary model, the two of which are having sex quite regularly.

Suddenly, a mysterious woman appears and starts slipping them copious amounts of money. She wants to be photographed so she can be exposed to as many men as possible. Confused but willing, the photographer has some amazing photoshoots with her, but she’s very mysterious about her reasons for wanting to model, and refuses to be paid. What does she really want? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

This is the fourth entry in the Nikkatsu Erotic Films Collection from Synapse’s Impulse label. While there is a "story" to this one, there’s not a whole lot of time spent developing it. Most of the film is taken up with photoshoots, sex scenes and filler scenes of little importance. The film is a bit of a mystery, so there’s really not much I can talk about with regard to the main story without giving anything away.

These types sex films really aren’t my bag. For me, they’re like building a hybrid character in a role playing game. You’re combining two classes to get some of the abilities of both. These types of films are similar in that they’re basically combining porn with an actual story. The end result, much like in an RPG when you do the same thing, is that both aspects become watered down and suffer from the existence of the other. Porn is at its best when it’s pure porn, and films are at their best when they’re not loaded down with pace killing sex scenes.

Now, that said…

For some reason, I’ve really been enjoying this particular collection of films. Even though these types of films aren’t really my bag, I’ve actually been enjoying them quite a bit, probably because they explore areas of sexuality you don’t see in films all that often, like domination and submission, watersports, sadomasochism, rape, bondage and more. This makes them far more interesting to watch than your standard softcore, plain vanilla bore-fest.

Of the four that have been released and that I’ve seen and reviewed so far, I enjoyed Sex Hell the most, because it had the best story, but all of them have managed to be both erotic and entertaining in a good way. Some are funnier, some are more serious and delve into darker places sexually, but all of them so far have managed to keep me entertained as I watch. I will say that the part I said above about things being watered down is accurate, for two reasons. The story suffers because of the numerous sex scenes, and the sex scenes suffer because these aren’t full on porn films, plus because of antiquated Japanese censorship laws, any shot of the pubic region has to be blurred or obscured in some way. So you’re not really getting the best of what the sex could be because they have to be careful about how they shoot everything, and you’re not getting the best of the story because of all the sex scenes. However, since these films are sex films, the story will always come as a secondary consideration anyway, simply existing as a framework to bring various people together for sex. So it all sort of works out in a way.

In any case, for whatever reason, these Nikkatsu films all seem to work on various levels, and they’re really quite enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue reviewing the next entries in the series, which look like they’ll be coming out July 10, 2012.

This release, like the other reviewed in this issue, doesn’t have any special features other than a trailer, liner notes from film scholar Jasper Sharp and newly translated subtitles.

Another strangely cool entry in the series, you’re really going to want to have this whole Nikkatsu collection if you enjoy these types of films. They’re really several steps above your typical, boring old sex film.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, or to pick up a copy for yourself, you can check out its page on the Synapse Films website here, or pick yourself up a copy of the DVD here.